Reggie and the Full Effect – Promotional Copy

Reggie and the Full Effect
Promotional Copy

Do not be fooled by the cover of this CD (as I was). If you were to walk into your local indie record shop (those delicious little morsels of DIY goodness that they are), you could actually buy Reggie and the Full Effect’s Promotional Copy. This side project of Matt Pryor and James Dewees (Get Up Kids) sets up a story of the misunderstood “Reggie,” an eighties pop star. In fact, the album’s hilarious opening track depicts Reggie’s murder a la A.C. Lerok. Good thing though, because even though Reggie has died, you can still buy this “promotional copy” of his unreleased work.
Anyone who’s heard Reggie’s first CD (Greatest Hits ’84-’87) knows that this band knows how to have fun. The Weezer-meets-keyboards pop of their first album captured the hearts of many punks who enjoy things like, say, laughing. With song titles like “Dwarf Invasion” and “Boot to the Moon Wade and Wayne Jentry and Band,” its obvious this album’s not a bunch of whiny emo confessions. The only problem is, it comes darn close.
The first album was magic. There were short (think fifteen-second) tracks of random nonsense (albeit funny random nonsense) and songs where the humor was built in. This album can’t seem to find the magic. The funny tracks are now longer (see the onomatopoeically named “Doot Doot Pause Doot Doot”), and the actual songs almost sound like serious music. “Congratulations Matt and Christine” actually seems to be a serious take on romance, not some halfhearted pop song with schlock lyrics and corny lover talk (as it would have been on their first album). Whereas the former album’s lyrics asked questions like “Where’s the boy with the piercing in his tongue?” this album’s lyrics sound more like serious Get Up Kids lyrics.
Don’t get me wrong, this is still a fun album. “Something I’m Not: Featuring Sean-O-Tronic” (think Sean Ingram from Coalesce) moves from brutal hardcore assault to pop in the blink of an eye. “Gloves” is an attempt to create (only half-jokingly) the new-wave sound these guys undoubtedly grew up with. The song is actually pretty funny, and it may be your only chance to hear Matt Pryor try to sound like Morrisey. Other songs like “Thanx for Stayin'” and “From Me 2 U” continue the chugging-guitar-keyboard sound of the first record, only minus the amusing lyrics. The album closes with “Dwarf Invasion,” which might be the funniest thing you’ll ever hear (let’s just say dwarfs from Finland are invading).
Unfortunately, the humor on this album is separated from the music. The first album flowed. This feels a bit forced. Nonetheless, I enjoyed this album thoroughly, as its still filled with digestible rock nuggets. If you already own the first album and you enjoy it, you’ll probably enjoy this as well. It’s not a bad release, but I guess I just expected more from these guys. At their best, they are infinitely more interesting than the Get Up Kids. The potential for one of indie rock’s coolest side projects is here, as long as Reggie and friends decide where they really want to go with it.